EMMAUS, PA (BRAIN)—Bicycling magazine is holding a steady pace in a negative advertising environment in which consumer magazine publishers are struggling to maintain ad revenue.
Total rate-card-reported advertising revenue declined 1.2 percent in the first quarter, according to the Publishers Information Bureau (PIB), which tracks advertising carried by more than 230 consumer magazines. Overall ad pages fell 6.4 percent in the first three months compared to last year.
“First quarter softness in ad categories like Automotive and Home Furnishings and Supplies indicate that the down economy has affected ad spending in magazines,” said Ellen Oppenheim, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA).
But Bicycling magazine is bucking that downward advertising trend. PIB reported that Bicycling’s ad revenue in the first quarter was up 2.4 percent from $7.16 million to $7.33 million. And Adweek just named Bicycling for the third year to its annual Hot List, which recognizes magazines with consistent growth in revenue and page count.
“The interest in cycling and participation in cycling—particularly at the higher end, which is the market we serve—has continued to grow. Advertisers are looking in this tough environment for media with real connectivity with their readers or their viewers,” said Chris Lambiase, vice president and publishing director of Bicycling. “Even though ad budgets are being cut back and sales are very difficult, there is more emphasis on true connectivity with readers.”
Lambiase said Bicycling’s circulation continues to grow and its Web site traffic is increasing at rate of 30 percent over last year.
PIB reported that Bicycling’s page count was down 3.5 percent through March, but Lambiase said pages in its May issue were up close to 6 percent. “I think for the year we’re running about flat,” he added.
Lambiase said whereas major advertisers are cutting spending in some magazines completely, Bicycling has seen some cutbacks. “We’ve been able to hold the lion’s share of shrinking ad budgets,” he said.